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Human Remains and Violence – Issue 1:2

HRVThis second issue of the journal – special guest edited by Sévane Garibian (University of Geneva) – explores the ways in which human remains are commemorated across a diverse range of political, social and historical contexts. In line with the journal’s interdisciplinary scope, each article provides a unique account of the practices generated by different events from around the globe. Examining the legacy of genocidal violence, Rémi Korman (EHESS-Paris) explores the significance and role of bones in the commemoration of the Tutsi genocide in Rwanda, while Jean-Marc Dreyfus (University of Manchester) investigates the transfer of victims’ ashes following the Holocaust. Anouche Kunth (CNRS, France) and Helen Jarvis (Permanent People’s Trubunal) focus on the Armenian and Cambodian genocides, respectively, the former presenting the effects of images on the remembrance and absence of bodies, and the latter depicting the use of artefacts and photographs in private and public ceremonies. Turning to the consequences of political violence, Zahira Araguete-Toribio (Goldsmiths University London) addresses the reburial of victims from the Civil War in contemporary Spain.

The editors are now accepting submissions for Autumn 2016. The journal welcomes original research articles on studies of any geographical region and historical period and from academic disciplines including History, Sociology, Social Anthropology, Archaeology, Law, Criminology, Forensic Science, Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Pathology, Philosophy, Cultural Studies and Political Science. All articles will be double-blind peer-reviewed. Online submissions are made via the Human Remains and Violence ScholarOne website:

For more information, please visit the journal’s webpage.

A doctoral and a post-doctoral position at the University of Geneva

collaborateursFor information : two positions (doctoral + postdoctoral) at the University of Geneva.
In the frame of her Swiss National Science Foundation Professorship (2016-2020), legal scholar Sévane Garibian is seeking doctoral and post-doctoral candidates for her research team in Transitional Justice hosted by the University of Geneva.
The Research Project is entitled “Droit à la vérité et vérité du droit. Impunité des crimes de masse et justice transitionnelle » (duration : 4 years).
For complete information, please click on the links below.
Thank you for circulating among potentially interested students/scholars.

New publication – Human remains and mass violence: methodological approaches

HMR coverThis latest book from editors Elisabeth Anstett and Jean-Marc Dreyfus outlines for the first time in a single volume the theoretical and methodological tools for a study of human remains resulting from episodes of mass violence and genocide. Despite the highly innovative and contemporary research into both mass violence and the body, the most significant consequence of conflict – the corpse – remains absent from the scope of existing research.

Why have human remains hitherto remained absent from our investigation, and how do historians, anthropologists and legal scholars, including specialists in criminology and political science, confront these difficult issues? By drawing on international case studies including genocides in Rwanda, the Khmer Rouge, Argentina, Russia and the context of post-World War II Europe, this ground-breaking edited collection opens new avenues of research.
Multidisciplinary in scope, this volume will appeal to readers interested in an understanding of mass violence’s aftermath, including researchers in history, anthropology, sociology, law, politics and modern warfare.

Human remains and violence: methodological approaches is available now. To purchase, please visit the publisher’s website or order using the form here.

Conference: Exhumed bodies and memory

imatge_antropologia_forenseOrganitza: Institut Català d’Antropologia (ICA) i ERAPI-Laboratori Cooperatiu de Socioantropologia. Amb la col·laboració de l’Insitut d’Estudis Catalans i el suport de l’Institut Ramon Muntaner i el Departament de Cultura de la Generalitat de Catalunya.

L’objectiu d’aquesta jornada és divulgar el treball efectuat pels professionals de l’antropologia en el marc dels processos de recuperació de la memòria de la repressió i la violència  durant la guerra civil i el franquisme, i en particular pel que fa als equips multidisciplinars que s’encarreguen d’exhumar fosses comunes.

Més informació aquí.

INOGS Conference – presentation

Elisabeth Anstett will deliver the paper ‘Undesirable corpses: Destruction of bodies and denial of memory in the Gulag’ on 6 December 2014 at the INGOS conference in Cape Town.
By examining the Soviet concentration system, the paper will address the burial procedure (or lack thereof) for the millions of prisoners sentenced to forced labour from 1918. It is a notable feature of the Soviet State that they did not return the bodies of the dead to their families. The paper will interrogate the variety of practices used on the bodies to dispose of them “without a trace”, and the effects the issues this raises on the memory of the Soviet camps today.
For the full conference programme, please see here.

The Trial of ESMA III, Argentina, 2013-2014, now available online

Trial argentinaOn September 2003 the Argentinian National Congress declared that impunity laws 23.492 and 23.521 were “absolutely void” and, in the same session of Congress, elevated to the rank of constitutional guarantee the Convention on Imprescriptibility of Crimes of War and Crimes Against Humanity. Since then, more than a hundred sentences have been announced, some of them recognizing the reality of genocide in Argentina. This means not only that justice has been obtained but also that a favourable situation has arisen for victims as well as their relatives and friends who have found a place to tell their experience and contribute to the fight against impunity.

The Argentina Trial Monitor believes it is key to participate in this process so as to record the historical moment and reflect upon what happens during the trial and upon what victims as well as perpetrators have to say. The trials are the result of years of struggle by human right organizations and other groups within the Argentine society, and they enable a productive debate over the consequences of state terror and its effects on Argentinian society’s current and future practices. We stress the importance of understanding and framing this violence as a genocide in order to highlight and better deal with the aftermath of state terror.

On November 28th 2012, the most significant trial in Argentinian history commenced. Centred on crimes committed at the Superior School of Mechanics of the Navy (ESMA) from 1976 to 1983, a period during which approximately 30,000 people were killed in Argentina, the trial will involve 88 defendants and 800 victims. It will be the largest trial to date in Argentina. Despite the importance of this and other trials in Argentina that have been held since the Argentine Supreme Court declared the impunity laws and amnesties unconstitutional in 2005, there is little English language information about the trials taking place in this country. The Argentina Trial Monitor (ATM) project seeks to address this situation.

The Argentina Trial Monitor will be jointly run by the Center for Genocide Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero(UNTREF) in Argentina and the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights-UNESCO Chair for Genocide Prevention at Rutgers University in the United States, with the assistance of some Argentine human rights organizations such as Asociación de Ex Detenidos Desaparecidos and Comisión de Familiares de Campo de Mayo and Casapueblos and affiliated Rutgers partners, including the Translation and Interpreting Program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

To visit the ATM’s website and follow the trial online please see here.

20th Anniversary of the Genocide in Rwanda: An Interview with Mathilde Mukantabana

mathilde-mukantabana-photographTo commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda on April 7th, a survivor, activist, and now diplomat discusses its personal and political legacies.

In the summer 2013, Mathilde Mukantabana was appointed Rwanda’s Ambassador to the USA and nonresident Ambassador to Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Prior to her appointment, from 1994 to 2013 she was professor of history at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California, and co-founder and president of Friends of Rwanda Association. Ambassador Mukantabana created a program in Social Work at the National University of Rwanda in 1999 and taught in their summer program until recently. She holds a bachelor’s degree in History and Geography from the University of Burundi, and master’s degrees in History and Social Work from California State University, Sacramento.

Interviewer Tony Platt is a founding member of the editorial board of Social Justice and a Visiting Professor in Justice Studies at San Jose State University, California.

Please read the full interview with Mathilde Mukantabana here.

Gardien de Camp – Review

Gardien de camp

Anthropologist Elisabeth Anstett and lecturer in Russian literature Luba Jurgenson have just published Dantsig Balldaev, Gardien de Camp. Tatouages et dessins du goulag analysing the tattoos and drawings of Dantsig Baldaev, a former officer of the Soviet Interior Ministry and long-time member of the prison institution. Following several years of data collection with inmates of Soviet prison camps, Baldaev sketched hundreds of designs over a 40 year period, raising many questions on this infamous historical institution.

The book has been reviewed in Les Inrocks which can be read (in french) here.

Towards a community of death – Tony Platt

The Corpses of mass violence and genocide 2nd annual conference has been documented by Tony Platt, Visiting Professor in the Department of Justice Studies, San José State University, in his blog GoodToGo. The post, ‘Towards a community of death’, provides a rigorous account of the presentations delivered at the conference, and summarises the pertinence of the themes raised to the central question: when, how and why should we identify the dead victims of mass violence and genocide?
Please see here for the full post.

D-Day Arromanches beach art tribute

In order to commemorate the civilians, Allies and German forces who died on Arromanches beach on 6 June 1944, hundreds on volunteers helped to create 9,000 stencil silhouettes of those killed, installing them into the sand in Normandy. The silhouettes were created to mark International Peace Day in September 2013 by sculptors Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss.
Please see here to watch a time lapse of how the artwork, titled “The Fallen”, was made.